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Pokémon GO – Review & Basic Guide

08/28/2016

Welcome back people to another one of my posts. It’s been a long time since our last one and we decided to put a hold on that series of posts for the moment to move to something else. While I’ve been having a writer’s block that had prevented me from actually siting down and typing posts, I have also been using a lot of time in this past month and a half playing Pokémon GO, for that same reason I decided it was simply the right idea to come up with a post about this game.

Now, I didn’t really want to do a review or just talk about the game. I prefer giving a complete guide, that will be dividing in 2 parts, a sort of walk-through for the new or not so experienced players of this game, hey, even an experienced player can get an idea or two from this post. So let’s start!

Pokémon GO. How a Prank Set it All Up

Pokémon GO really started a long time ago, John Hanke had already entered the augmented really meets maps arena back when he launched Field Trip and then evolved this idea with the first mmo played in maps with augmented reality Ingress which was released in 2012, this game allowed you to select a faction and fight over control of portals, these portals later become all the gyms and pokéstops you now interact with in Pokémon GO.

The idea for combining this type of game with the Pokémon universe really sparked out for one of Google’s many April fool’s jokes of 2014. With the release of this video:

What started out as a prank really became a success as a lot of people got interested in the video, in actually looking for Pokémon using their phones. And several Google Maps users took the task seriously and managed to capture all the hidden Pokémon in Google Maps. The idea to really make this a game simply made sense.

In September, 2015. Pokémon announced that this game was actually a thing and that it was going to be released. This really came as a unimaginable satisfaction to a lot of us, believe me, I shed a couple of tears by the end of this trailers and still get goosebumps whenever I see the Mewtwo scene:

Starting Your Journey to Become a Pokémon GO Master

Now that you have this background of how everything was set in motion, let’s really start this guide:

The Basics of Pokémon GO

  • You Have to Go Out

If you paid attention to these last 2 videos, then you can figure out this is not a game you play on your couch or sitting confortable in a chair in front a computer. As it is a game that utilizes maps and augmented reality, it will require you to get out, to move a lot, to travel distances, simply put you’ll have to travel across the land, searching far and wide to be the very best, just listen to the song and you’ll get it:

  • Catching Pokémons

Catching Pokémons will be the first thing that you’ll do as soon as you set the game up. You will be given the choice to choose your starter Pokémon as Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur will appear near you, just tap the one you want and you’ll be prompted to catch it. Now catching is very easy, you just need to flip the Pokéball and hit the Pokémon with it. But there are some things you want to know when doing this.

First is that depending on the Pokémon CP level it may be harder to catch, this will be seen in the color of the circle that starts big and becomes smaller, green is for easy, yellow is medium and red is hard, the harder the Pokémon, the less chances it will stay in the Pokéball.

You want to hit the circle that becomes smaller when it is smaller, this will increase the chances of your getting the Pokémon and the experience you’ll gain. You can also throw a curve-ball and this will have the same effect, doing this will take time to master and you can do it by tapping the Pokéball and moving it in circles before throwing it.

Curveball Pokémon GO

Mastering Curveballs will take some time, but it will give you better catching rates and more experience in the long run

Every Pokémon will either jump or feint an attack. This will make you miss your shot, so always wait for them to at least do their first feint before throwing your first Pokéball at them.

  • Pokéstops

The first and probably one of the most important elements that you’ll be interacting with are Pokéstops. This will be the source of the many items that you’ll need to play the game (we’ll cover those in a bit). You have to be close to one to open it, interact with it and get items from it, after that you’ll have to wait at least 5 minutes before the stop refreshes and it can give you items again. Pokéstops can be also “fed” lure modules to attract Pokémons.

Pokemon GO Pokestop Managua

This is how a Pokéstop will look. Just spin the disc with the image and you’ll get the items.

Pokemon GO Pokestop Alexis Arguello

After interacting with the Pokéstop you can either touch the items or just close the interaction to get them.

  • Picking sides

When you reach level 5, you’ll be given the option to pick a team. There are 3 teams to choose from, Valor, Mystic and Instinct. They are represented by the colors red, blue and yellow respectively and the legendary birds Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos. Teams don’t really play that much of a part on the game yet but they will have a more prominent role later on according to Niantic.

Pokémon GO Teams

Choose your team. I personally went for Valor for what Candela explained the team represents and because I have always chosen a fire-type starter.

  • Gyms

Currently there is no battle system integrated in Pokémon GO. The only battles are done in gyms. Gyms can hold up to 10 Pokémons at a time to defend it and depending on the team that is controlling it and the team that you chose, you can either train Pokémon already in the gym to help it gain reputation and then add one of your own Pokémon. Or you can fight the rival team’s Pokémon to remove them from the gym.

If the gym is in control by your team. Then you can help it by battling 1 of your Pokémon against the ones in the gym to help it raise its reputation level and then add your own Pokémon. Just like I did here:

As you can see I managed to raise the gym’s level from 4 to 5. Which enabled me to add my own Pokémon to it:

After adding one or more of your Pokémons to gyms, you can go to the shop menu and click on the shield icon on the top right corner of the screen, this will give you 10 coins and 500 stardust for every Pokémon you have defending gyms. You can only have 1 Pokémon per gym though.

You can also battle a gym if a rival team is controlling it, instead of using just 1 Pokémon, you can use a party of 6 to do so, by removing the opposing team you will be able to then capture the gym for your team and follow the instructions mentioned above to improve the gym level. I will give you some advanced tips on battling opposing gyms in our second part of this guide

  • Items:

Pokéballs

These will be your main item as you’ll catch Pokémons with them. You are given 50 at the start of the game and then you can get more from Pokéstops, leveling up or buying them with real money. They come in the normal presentation, the Super Ball and the Great Ball that will work better with stronger Pokémons.

Potions

Potions will help you restore your Pokémon back to their health after battles. They come in the regular presentation that restores 25 Health Points (HP), Super Potion that restores 50 HP and Hyper that Restores 200 HP.

Revives

If your Pokémon faints during a battle then you’ll need to revive them with either a revive or a max revive.

Lucky Eggs

Lucky eggs will double the experience you gain for 30 minutes. If used properly they will enable you to quickly level up. I will talk more about using them properly later on in the post.

Incense

Incense can be used to lure Pokémon to you, instead of looking for them. By experience I can tell you that these are better used while moving instead of being stationary as they tend to spawn more Pokémon this way.

Razz Berry

Razz Berries can be thrown to Pokémon before attempting to throwing a Pokéball at them to increase your chances of catching them.

Camera

The camera will allow you to take pictures of Pokémon in the catching interaction screen. These pictures will be saved in your device.

Incubator

Incubators are needed to hatch eggs. You’ll get one with unlimited uses and will then be able to purchase more and receive them when you reach level that are multiples of 5 (i.e: 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.)

Lure Module

Lure module are similar to incenses as they draw Pokémon to you. The difference is that these are used on Pokéstops and can help others catch these Pokémon that are being attracted. One interesting factor that you can notice is that Pokéstop mention to active “Modules” that generalization leads to believe that there will be other types of modules added to the game in future updates.

Pokéstop Modules

You can add a Lure Module to a Pokéstop to make Pokémon spawn

Eggs

One of the most important items to really catch them all are eggs as they will allow to get Pokémon that maybe are not appearing in the wild. They come in 2km, 5km and 10km varieties and will give you better and rarer Pokémon the more distance they take to hatch. Here you can see all the Pokémon you can get in the different types of eggs:

Pokemon GO Eggs

The more distance you have to travel to hatch an egg, the better the Pokémon will be

Something that I normally do is that I prioritize 2km eggs as I still don’t have the third evolutions of any of the starters of the one for Pikachu or Clefairy for that matter. Because they take less time to hatch, I prioritize them in hopes of getting these Pokémons to evolve.

Leveling Up Your Pokémon GO Skills

We decided it was better to split this post in two because of the amount of information we wanted to present. So check our second part of this guide to get some more advanced tips and techniques that will help you become a Pokémon Master.